‘Friends’: A Scandalous Joey and Phoebe Easter Egg Was Rejected By Creative Team, Saving the Show’s Integrity

It’s been more than 20 years since Friends wrapped up its productions, but fans have never stopped poking holes into the show’s storylines. Among the many fan theories out there involves that of the relationship between Phoebe and Joey. Many fans have, for years, speculated that the pair hooked up a couple of times. The theory has been prominent enough that Matt LeBlanc, who played Joey Tribbiani, had to come out and clear the air on those rumors.

The premise of the show ‘Friends’

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Friends centers on six young adults’ lives as they navigate their way in the chaotic New York City. When the show begins, a wealthy but friendly Rachel Greene, flees her wedding searching for something fulfilling, She heads out to New York to find her childhood friend Monica Geller, a chef obsessed with tidiness.

Rachel lands a job as a waitress at the Central Perk café. The two ladies become roommates, and Monica introduces Rachel to her former roommate Phoebe Buffay, friends Joey Tribbiani and Chandler Bing, and her brother Ross Geller.

Friends was initially meant to air as Insomnia Cafe, but after playing around with various names, the creative team finally landed on Friends title. The show aired from September 1994 to May 2004 and was well received.

The six actors who played the lead friends admitted that they agreed to end the show while it was still at a high. Despite the fans’ urge to continue with the show, the showrunners and cast decided to end the show to avoid giving fans a chance to get bored with it.

Joey and Phoebe are the only pair on Friends who didn’t become a couple

Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) on ‘Friends’ | J. Delvalle/NBCU Photo Bank

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When the show ended, Monica Geller got married to the sarcastic Chandler Bing. The two had hidden their relationship from the rest for a while. The others found out by sheer coincidence, but the couple ended up having a happy ever after by the show’s final season.

Ross and Rachel ended up having a baby together. Ross Gellar had always been a shy but loving fellow who had no previous success at love. When Rachel stormed in Central Perk café in the first episode with her wedding dress still on, Ross knew that she was the one for him and tirelessly pursued her.

Rachel and Joey even share a kiss in the later seasons. The show paired them up but the two never actually date.

With the two pairs of friends having hooked up, it left room for Joey and Phoebe. If the showrunners had gone with the original script, Monica would have ended up with Joey, but they thought against it and opted to have Monica with Chandler instead.

While Joey was always the womanizer, he respected the boundaries between him and his female friends, including Phoebe. Joey and Phoebe’s relationship was a special one, and the two shared a special bond.

Why Joey and Phoebe never had a relationship

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The premise of the show Friends was meant to be that of six friends. However, the show’s plotline was adjusted to include the friendships forming into meaningful marriages, except for Joey and Phoebe. While the show’s fans had initially thought that the two hooked up secretly, Matt LeBlanc shut down those rumors.

LeBlanc told EW that he and Phoebe had pitched the idea to the show’s creative team, but they turned it down. The pair wanted their relationship to have a big reveal where they would come out of a broom closet after having sex there. However, the creative team decided against it.

This decision was one that arguably saved the integrity of the show. Had Joey and Phoebe hooked up, made out, or even shared romantic feelings, the broader message of the series would be that heterosexual friends of the opposite gender simply cannot have a non-sexual or non-romantic relationship. Nixing the idea was eventually a good thing since it helped cement Joey and Phoebe’s platonic relationship and showed fans that not all friends have to have had a sexual history.